Dialysis Catheter-related Bloodstream Infections in Patients Receiving Hemodialysis on an Emergency-only Basis: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis

Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Mar 5;68(6):1011-1016. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy555.


Background: An estimated 6500 undocumented immigrants with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) live in the United States. Those living in states that do not provide undocumented immigrants scheduled hemodialysis receive intermittent hemodialysis only when life-threatening conditions arise. Little is known about catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) in this population.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of emergency-only hemodialysis patients in the Harris Health System in Houston, Texas, between January 2012 and December 2015. We assessed CRBSI risk factors including demographics, comorbidities, and duration and frequency of hemodialysis. We investigated the microbiologic etiology of these infections, rates of recurrent CRBSI, and associated morbidity and mortality.

Results: The cohort included 329 patients; 90% were Hispanic, 60% had diabetes, and the average age was 51 years. A total of 101 CRBSIs occurred, with a rate of 0.84 infections per 1000 catheter-days. Cirrhosis and duration of hemodialysis during the study period were associated with increased risk of CRBSI. Seventeen CRBSIs were recurrent; infection with gram-positive bacteria predicted recurrence. Adherence to catheter-related infection guidelines was improved by infectious diseases consultation and associated with fewer recurrent infections. CRBSI was associated with prolonged hospitalization (mean, 15 days), composite complication rate of 8%, and a 4% mortality rate.

Conclusions: Patients receiving emergency-only hemodialysis via tunneled catheters have a high CRBSI rate compared with infection rates previously reported in patients receiving scheduled maintenance hemodialysis. Increased CRSBI risk likely contributes to the increased morbidity and mortality seen in ESRD patients receiving emergency-only hemodialysis.

Keywords: CRBSI; ESRD; emergency hemodialysis; hemodialysis catheter; undocumented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheter-Related Infections / diagnosis
  • Catheter-Related Infections / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Management
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis / epidemiology*
  • Sepsis / etiology*